My mother just left after a week+ visit. She is 86, and still pretty healthy. She lives with my sister and her husband in Ft. Worth, TX. They have a large house, and Mom has a separate apartment. They share the living and kitchen areas.
It’s been a few years since Mom came here to SC, and I took most of the week off from work to hang out with her. We get along great – I am very like her in many ways. We knitted together (she makes prayer shawls for the children’s hospital) which was fun. We also shopped, ran errands, ate out (a LOT) and watched football. I am not a big fan, but she is, and she & my husband talk sports.
What really gets me is how emotional I am feeling about the whole thing. It was really fun being with her, but I am highly aware that we may not have many more opportunities for this. She is more childlike now, more in tune with what she likes and dislikes, and WAY less concerned about what others think she “should do”. I was surprised by the overwhelming tenderness I felt towards her. This is a new emotion in our relationship.
I also was aware in a whole new way of how others responded to her. Not so much young people, but middle-aged & older. I saw over and over again that someone would look at her, and shift just a little. Like my friend Judy from work who was extra sweet to her. And the American Airlines employee who offered to let me go to the gate with her this morning to wait for her plane to depart. And the security screener who helped her with her things in the line. That little bit of compassion and kindness, that awareness of how precious our parents are, that hint of our OWN mortality.
And inescapably, I am keenly aware that I have no daughters (no children at all) to be with me when I am old. My niece jokingly offered to eat pizza with me when I am 86, in response to a tweet about this. I’m holding her to it.